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Disney took aim at its pro-LGBT stances and signed an agreement with Florida

Disney took aim at its pro-LGBT stances and signed an agreement with Florida

Disney reached an agreement with the state of Florida on Wednesday over management of the site that includes one of its theme parks, as part of a confrontation initiated by Governor Ron DeSantis after criticism from the company over its anti-LGBT stances.

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Conservative Republicans and the American giant Disney, the main employer in the region at the Disney World theme park in Orlando, have been locked in a legal battle since 2022, when the governor imposed sanctions on the group.

“We look forward to working with Disney with this agreement, which I believe is comprehensive and important,” said Charbel Barakat, vice chairman appointed by Ron DeSantis, after announcing the news during a meeting.

“We are pleased to put an end to all litigation pending in the Florida state courts,” Jeff Vale, president of Walt Disney World, said in a statement.

He stressed that the agreement “serves the interests of all parties by allowing the continuation of large investments and creating thousands of direct and indirect job opportunities” in the state.

Disney had angered the Republican governor by condemning a bill restricting the teaching of material related to sexual orientation in elementary schools in Florida.

Ron DeSantis responded by removing Disney's special status in his state, putting an end to the benefits Disney World theme parks had enjoyed since the 1960s.

This special status gave Disney many advantages: administrative facilities, self-management of the site, and advantageous loans, in particular.

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The agreement ends state-level lawsuits between Disney and the board appointed by Ron DeSantis, but the two sides still face a legal battle in federal court.

Disney recently appealed a court ruling that dismissed its complaint against the Republican. The company accused the governor of launching a “targeted retaliation” campaign against it.

The company asked the courts to postpone this matter for further negotiations after the agreement was announced on Wednesday.

Ron DeSantis, a figure on the US hard right who dropped out of the Republican presidential primary in January, rose to fame by doubling down on ultra-conservative shock measures on education, immigration and LGBT issues.